The transition to turbulent flow in the compression stage of a reciprocating engine is studied by obtaining the finite-difference numerical solutions to the governing Navier-Stokes equations without using explicit turbulence models. A computational method is developed under the assumption that the flow is in a low-subsonic regime with strong compression. The numerical method is a simple extension of the well known MAC method. Computations were performed for three different chamber geometries at the engine speed of 1400 rpm. The results of the computations clearly demonstrate the transient process in which large tumbling vortices break down into smaller ones near the end of the compression process. The transition process is also caught experimentally by using Mach-Zehnder interferometry.
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